McDermott and TechnipFMC set for trial over COO

[UPDATE 04-05-19 Mistrial declared – before the Jury was sworn in].

Back in July 2018, Samik Mukherjee resigned from TechnipFMC, where he was the VP of Corporate Development & Strategy, to join McDermott International as its new COO.

Within days, TechnipFMC sued alleging that Mr Mukherjee stole trade secrets. The court issued a temporary injunction against Mr Mukherjee in which he was prohibited from working for McDermott on bids or projects that Technip were working on and other business development activities. That injunction is still in effect.

Technip is seeking $200 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages.

The two parties are currently scheduled for trial April 1 in Harris County. There is a good chance of it being delayed for six months. One issue has been a late change of trial judge assigned to the case. The original judge had to back out for health reasons.

The lawyers for McDermott have been arguing that Technip has been slow to respond to their requests and to make their expert witnesses available for deposition. The lawyers are arguing much work remains in the discovery stage.

So far, at least six McDermott executives and board members have been deposed, including CEO David Dickson (who used to work for Technip).

Much of the evidence submitted to the court is confidential and under seal. This primarily relates to Technip’s allegations regarding contracts with Reliant and ONGC in India. Mr Mukherjee allegedly disclosed the terms of Technip’s bid to ONGC to McDermott five months before he joined them.

On Monday, the judge will hear five summary judgement motions from both sides.  Assuming the case continues, the trial is expected to last four weeks.

[UPDATE: 04/02/19 – The two summary judgement motions brought by McDermott have been dismissed]

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